The Republic of Seychelles comprises 115 islands occupying a land area of 455 km? and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million km? in the western Indian Ocean. It represents an archipelago of legendary beauty that extends from between 4 and 10 degrees south of the equator and which lies between 480km and 1,600km from the east coast of Africa.Of these 115 islands, 41 constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the low-lying coral atolls and reef islands of the Outer Islands. It represents an archipelago of timeless beauty, tranquillity and harmony that is famous for its world-beating beaches and for its great diversity which rolls from lush forests down to the warm azure ocean.
The granitic islands of the Seychelles archipelago cluster around the main island of Mahe, home to the international airport and the capital, Victoria, and its satellites Praslin and La Digue. Together, these Inner Islands form the cultural and economic hub of the nation and contain the majority of Seychelles’ tourism facilities as well as its most stunning beaches.
Seychelles’ enviable climate is always warm and without extremes. In this tropical haven the temperature seldom drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. All but the remotest southern islands lie comfortably outside the cyclone belt making Seychelles’ a year round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers.
During the north-west trade winds that visit between the months of October and March, the sea is generally calm and the weather warm and humid, with average winds of 8-12 knots.
In January and February the islands receive their life-giving rains, rejuvenating the rivers and streams and teasing the vibrant foliage into rainbows of colour.
The months between May and September bring drier, cooler weather, and livelier seas – particularly on south-eastern coasts – and winds of 10-20 knots.
Seychelles is a comparatively young nation which can trace its first settlement back to 1770 when the islands were first settled by the French, leading a small party of whites, Indians and Africans. The islands remained in French hands until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, evolving from humble beginnings to attain a population of 3,500 by the time Seychelles was ceded to Britain under the treaty of Paris in 1814.
Under the British, Seychelles achieved a population of some 7,000 by the year 1825. Important estates were established during this time producing coconut, food crops, cotton and sugar cane. During this period Seychelles also saw the establishment of Victoria as her capital, the exile of numerous and colourful troublemakers from the Empire, the devastation caused by the famous Avalanche of 1862 and the economic repercussions of the abolition of slavery.
Seychelles achieved independence from Britain in 1976 and became a republic within the commonwealth.
Fauna & Flora
Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora & fauna on earth. With almost 50% of its limited landmass set aside as national parks and reserves, Seychelles prides itself on its record for far sighted conservation policies that have resulted in an enviable degree of protection for the environment and the varied ecosystems it supports.
Nowhere else on earth will you find unique endemic specimens such as the fabulous Coco-de-mer, the largest seed in the world, the jellyfish tree, with only eight surviving examples, the Seychelles’ paradise flycatcher and Seychelles warbler.
Seychelles is also home to two U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Sites: Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll and Praslin’s Vallee de Mai, once believed to be the original site of the Garden of Eden.
From the smallest frog to the heaviest land tortoise and the only flightless bird of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles nurtures an amazing array of endemic species within surrounds of exceptional natural beauty.
Echoing the grand assortment of people who populate Seychelles, Creole cuisine features the subtleties and nuances of French cooking, the exoticism of Indian dishes and the piquant flavours of the Orient. Grilled fish or octopus basted with a sauce of crushed chillies, ginger and garlic are national favourites as are a variety of delicious curries lovingly prepared with coconut milk and innovative chatinis made from local fruits such as papaya and golden apple. As may be expected, seafood dishes feature predominantly in the local cuisine, appearing alongside the national staple, rice.
Some restaurants specialise in Indian, Chinese or Italian food and many feature popular international and specialist dishes. Coming soon! A selection of recipes that will bring the tastes of Seychelles straight to your kitchen!
In the evolution of its society, Seychelles has remained faithful to its multi-ethnic roots. For over two centuries, the islands have remained a melting pot of different races, traditions and religions from the four corners of the earth.
Inspired by its grand diversity of cultural influences, ethnic diversity with racial harmony remain the mainstays of today’s vibrant yet tranquil Creole nation for which harmony is a way of life.